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Caribbean Sea Map

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The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles.

The entire area of the Caribbean Sea, the numerous islands of the West Indies, and adjacent coasts, are collectively known as the Caribbean. The Caribbean Sea is one of the largest salt water seas and has an area of about 2,754,000 km2(1,063,000 sq. mi.). The sea's deepest point is the Cayman Trough, between the Cayman Islands and Jamaica, at 7,686 m (25,220 ft) below sea level. The Caribbean coastline has many gulfs and bays: the Gulf of Gonave, Gulf of Venezuela, Gulf of Darien, Golfo de los Mosquitos, Gulf of Paria and Gulf of Honduras.

The Caribbean Sea is an oceanic sea largely situated on the Caribbean Plate. Estimates of the sea's age range from 20,000 years to 570 million years. The Caribbean sea floor is divided into five basins separated from each other by underwater ridges and mountain ranges. Atlantic Ocean enters the Caribbean through the Anegada Passage lying between the Lesser Antilles and Virgin Islands and the Windward Passage located between Cuba and Haiti. The Yucatan Channel between Mexico and Cuba links the Gulf of Mexico with the Caribbean. The deepest points of the sea lie in Cayman Trough with depths reaching approximately 7,686 m (25,220 ft). Despite this, the Caribbean Sea is considered a relatively shallow sea in comparison to other bodies of water.

The Caribbean sea floor is also home to two oceanic trenches: the Hispaniola Trench and Puerto Rico Trench, which put the area at a higher risk of earthquakes. Underwater earthquakes pose a threat of generating tsunamis which could have a devastating effect on the Caribbean islands. Scientific data reveals that over the last 500 years the area has seen a dozen earthquakes above 7.5 magnitude. Most recently, a 7.1 earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010.